She began experiencing horrible pain in her head, neck and shoulders which she thought was just due to her chronic migraines. Ashley went to a new neurologist who just wanted to do basic blood work. But a few days later she got a call from her primary care to come in immediately.It was April 11,2017 and next thing she knew she was being taken up to Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers where she was diagnosed with leukemia and told to go home pack a bag and report to Parkview medical center in Pueblo at 8am on April 12,2017. Ashley went in and they put in a PICC line, did a bunch of CT scans and a bone marrow biopsy (ouch!) and confirmed she had AML with FLT3 mutation.
She started Induction chemo on 4/13/17. The chemo worked by knocking out all of her platelets and hemoglobin. But transfusions of the platelets failed. She began bleeding from her urinary tract uncontrollably, having high fevers, reactions to medications and mouth sores. She wasn’t able to eat or barely drink. Platelet infusions were still failing so sheI was transferred by ambulance to Presbyterian/St Luke’s hospital on 4/27/17. She had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic and her fevers were close to 106.
To save her life, doctors took platelets from her sister who was a 10/10 match for her upcoming transplant. They typically don’t use the donor but she would have died without platelets. Her sister’s platelets saved her! She was given her platelets 3 more times until they could find other perfect matches. Ashley slowly got better and was released home for 5 weeks to prepare for transplant. There was no sign of AML or FLT 3.She went back to the hospital to begin her second round of chemo before transplant on 6/30/17. She was given busulfan and methotrexate. Because of the methotrexate, Ashley got one of the worst cases of mucocitis doctors have seen. She was not able to eat, drink, swallow, talk or barely breath for 19 days. She was given food by IV for a few days but wasn’t able to stay on it long due to her high liver tests. Ashley was given an upper endoscopy and a colonoscopy and was diagnosed with GVHD of the esophagus, stomach and GI tract. Taking medications was nearly impossible due to the mouth sores so she spent 39 days in the hospital before being released to an apartment in Denver to recover from the transplant. Over 70 days without seeing her daughter and 4 months living in Denver later she was released Home on October 13th.